CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults

This self-report questionnaire assesses weekly frequency and duration of a variety of lifestyle physical activities that are meaningful and appropriate for older adults. It includes activities of various intensities (from light to vigorous) such as walking, running, hiking, swimming, bicycling, dancing, tennis, aerobics, yoga/tai chi, gardening, and housework. Intensity is reflected in the item stem (e.g., light and heavy gardening are separate items). A Spanish language version is available, designed for Spanish-speaking persons aged 50+ in the San Francisco Bay Area. We developed the questionnaire as an outcome measure to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to increase “lifestyle” physical activity among older adults (aged 50+). Specifically, we designed it for the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS). This unique program aimed to increase physical activity levels of seniors by encouraging them to participate in physical activities of their choice, based on their readiness, preferences, health, and abilities. Information on the intervention is provided at https://champs.ucsf.edu

What Special Concerns Were Addressed for Older Adults?

We used several strategies to create this questionnaire for older adults that differed from measures of physical activity designed for younger adults,

  • Included lifestyle physical activities (e.g., gardening, dancing) in addition to exercise
  • Included age-appropriate types of activities
  • Assesses weekly frequency and duration to facilitate reporting of activities not done on a regular schedule
  • Intensity assessed by having separate items rather than asking estimated intensity
  • Designed to facilitate recall (using recognition memory instead of recall memory)
  • Formatted to accommodate limitations in vision with aging

We used a unique strategy to minimize socially desirable responding, a tendency to over report activities because of the societal value placed on being active. We included non-physical activities (e.g., social, volunteering, hobbies, reading) to allow respondents to report being active, precluding the need to over report physical activities such as walking. For this reason, the title of the questionnaire is “Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults.” These non-physical activities are not scored in the physical activity summary scores.

Administration

The questionnaire is self-administered, although it can be interviewer administered (in person or by telephone). It is formatted to accommodate increasing visual problems with age by using a large font, adequate space on the page, and high contrast. Self-administration takes about 10-15 minutes, although this can vary. The Spanish version takes approximately 20 minutes to self-administer, or 20-30 minutes by interview.

Download the Questionnaires and Scoring Instructions

There are several derived measures from the questionnaire. We score the following four measures for all activities, and then for just the subset of activities of moderate intensity (met values > 3.0).

  • Estimated caloric expenditure per week
  • Frequency per week
  • Hours per week
  • Mets/kg/week

​​In the scoring instructions table, we have simplified and clarified the scoring rules from those in the original manuscript. We also include two measures not described in the original publication (hours per week, mets/kg/week) as alternative measures when body weight is not available (body weight is necessary for caloric expenditure measures). In addition, we corrected a small error in the published scoring rules.

To calculate caloric expenditure, we assigned each activity a metabolic weight based on its intensity. The metabolic weights are included in the scoring rules and appear in the publication. In addition, body weight is a necessary part of scoring the caloric expenditure measures. Thus, if you are not collecting this data, please add it to the questionnaires.

Permission

You are free to use the questionnaire. You also are welcome to modify the questionnaire if needed to meet the needs of a particular population (for example, add an activity that is common in your sample but not on the questionnaire). However, we would like to know if you make any modifications, please email Anita Stewart.

Methods of Translation of the Spanish Version of the Questionnaire

The goal of the translation was to be appropriate for Spanish-speaking persons aged 50 and older in the San Francisco Bay Area. The questionnaire was initially translated and back translated by two individuals who were native Spanish speakers (one from Peru and one from Mexico), both with graduate degrees. The individuals discussed differences in wording and meaning, and consulted people of Mexican and South and Central American origin. Our goal was to determine the best wording to convey meaning and have the words understood by a broad-range of Latinos/Hispanics, especially since idiomatic Spanish varies widely between and across countries and socioeconomic status.

Upon completing this process, there were multiple pilot tests of the questionnaire in community populations similar to those that would be included in the research. These included individuals from Mexico, South America and Central America. Participants often needed assistance to complete the questionnaire. Difficulties seemed related to understanding the instructions, or having the math and/or reading skills needed to answer the questions. Throughout the testing, we made minor changes to the instructions, formatting, and question wording. A few additional culturally relevant activities were added.

Publications

The original publication describes the design process, selection of physical activities, modifications of published metabolic weights for older adults for scoring intensity, and how we addressed special concerns for older adults. It also presents psychometric evaluation and scoring.

Citation: Stewart A, Mills KM, King AC, Haskell WL, Gillis D, and Ritter PL. CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults: Outcomes for Interventions. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2001, 33(7), 1126-1141. PMID 11445760.

Known groups and construct validity of the CHAMPS questionnaire was examined in a study comparing it to two other physical activity questionnaires for older adults.

Citation: Harada ND, Chiu V, Stewart AL. An evaluation of three self-report physical activity instruments for Older adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2001;33(6), 962-970. PMID 11404662.

Another publication presents the measures as the primary outcomes in evaluating the CHAMPS intervention.

Citation: Stewart AL, Verboncoeur CJ, McLellan BY, Gillis DE, Rush S, Mills K, King AC, Ritter P, Brown BW Jr, Bortz WM. Physical activity outcomes of CHAMPS II: A physical activity promotion program for older adults. Journal of Gerontology: A Biological Science Medical Science 2001:56M:465-70. PMCID: PMC1780022.

Subsequently, we used these measures as primary outcomes evaluating a diffusion of several adapted CHAMPS programs to reach lower-socioeconomic status, minority adults.

Citation: Stewart AL, Gillis D, Grossman M, Castrillo M, Pruitt L, McLellan B, and Sperber N. Diffusing a research-based physical activity promotion program for seniors into diverse communities: CHAMPS III. Preventing Chronic Disease 2006 Apr;3(2) A51. PMCID: PMC1563966.

Contact

For any questions about this questionnaire, contact Anita Stewart.